As well as deliver the benefits of sustainable banking directly through its finance, Triodos Bank promotes the idea that money can be used consciously through the banking system as a positive force for good, directly contributing to its strategic goal to act as a frontrunner in responsible finance. This role is one its stakeholders value very highly, was discussed in structured stakeholder engagement activity during the year and remains a key strategic objective of the organisation.
During the year, Triodos Bank collaborated with other values-based banks, civil society organisations and academia to develop and promote ideas for the necessary conditions to shape sustainable finance in the future.
For example, in Spain Triodos Bank co-founded the Academic Forum for Sustainable Finance in cooperation with AFI School of Finance. This think-tank builds on the experience of the Dutch Sustainable Finance Lab and aims to deliver knowledge that promotes a more stable, resilient and sustainable financial system.
Both in The Netherlands and Spain, major achievements were met in terms of contributing to the creation of climate commitments from the financial sector, including binding commitments to cut the carbon emissions of bank’s loans and investments.
Triodos Bank joined a number of businesses in the UK committing to highlight the gravity of the climate emergency and to inspire urgent action and debate. A new retail marketing campaign was launched ‘Change your Bank, Change the World‘ to inspire people to consider the large volume invested in fossil fuels by mainstream UK banks since the Paris Climate Agreement. The campaign was backed by celebrities and NGOs, such as Friends of the Earth.
Triodos Bank UK promoted the UN Principles for Responsible Banking with an event at the Houses of Parliament and a supporting cross-party group of MPs advocated the social purpose of banks to be examined further.
Triodos Bank in Belgium actively engages with the Belgian banking federation including providing a critical voice where necessary. It was explicit in its criticism of the Febelfin sustainability label ‘Towards sustainability’, for example, during the year. In Triodos Bank’s view the label does not set the bar high enough in terms of exclusion of oil and gas, and transparency. Triodos Bank‘s opinion was picked up in the press and among other stakeholders. At the same time the office has partnered with Febelfin on a Carbon Accounting event during the year sharing Triodos Bank’s involvement in the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF).
Triodos Bank Belgium also raised awareness about the role of finance in the transition to a climate-neutral and socially just economy during the year. It commented on subjects including the UN Priniciples for Responsible Banking, EU-Taxonomy on green finance, and COP 25 climate meeting in the national press and via its own communication channels.
Triodos Bank Belgium was invited to present the Triodos Bank policy Towards ecologically and socially resilient food and agriculture systems during an event organized by the Green European Foundation in the European Parliament. This helped to familiarise an international audience with Triodos Bank‘s vision and practices in financing future-proofed food and agriculture projects.
Triodos Bank backed up being the first bank in Germany to publish its carbon footprint, using the PCAF methodology, with a carbon accounting event in Frankfurt which helped inform similar events in Spain and Belgium during the year. It also participated in several conferences to introduce the open source, PCAF approach to other interested financial institutions. Triodos Bank was also appointed as a member of the German government’s sustainable finance council.